We’ve experienced three out of four seasons in Graz. When we arrived, at the end of February, it was still winter. Snow thinly blanketed our hill and road, although there was none in the city. It was cold, and we needed every bit of the winter clothing we brought with us, including the snow boots. Freeze and thaw brought on mud season. Spiritually, it’s a rich time; literally, it was awful keeping the flat clean from all that mud and dirt!
How quickly that changed in mid to late March, when suddenly buds starting popping and patches of green took over the space outside. Why is it we are always so surprised by Spring’s appearance? Buds gave way to flowers, which have stayed with us progressively as the weeks have passed. There is always something blooming in the woods, here. It’s one of the sensory things I will miss about Graz—the smell of these woods. It brings back memories of those early formative years when I galloped with my chums through the deciduous, creekside woods near my childhood home.
Now it’s summer. The birds are still singing outside our windows, and some are on their second or third broods. Buildings sport colorful hanging flower baskets and boxes; plaza plantings have filled out from their early tentative beginnings and it’s hot! We won’t be here for Autumn, which we are certain will be just as glorious. But we experienced the Four Seasons, nevertheless, in a musical performance on Tuesday, June 28.
Our friends, Christina and Gernot, are part of the Verein Sakrale Musik Graz-Mariatrost, a choir about 80-strong, which sings at the Bascilica several times a year and in other parishes as well. The choir is celebrating its 25th year and for this celebration, as well as the 225th birthday of the Maria-Trost parish, they performed Haydn’s Four Seasons. The three soloists, choir and orchestra soared! We had the German libretto to follow the lyrics, but it really wasn’t all that necessary, as the music itself is such a great ‘tone poem’ of the cycle of life.